The Ouse Valley Way (from Southease to Lewes)

After having to abort a walk yesterday because of rather windy and wet conditions, I thought I would try again today as the weather forecast didn’t predict any further rain. This yet again involved a train ride in getting to the start of the walk, as there are no direct trains to Southease it meant into Brighton and onto another train along the coast.

Arriving at Southease I joined the South Downs Way for a few hundred yards, crossing the swing bridge before turning onto the path that follows the course of the river into the historic town of Lewes in East Sussex. There is a path on either side of the river but I chose the west side of the river, the reason being when I arrive at Lewes it would be nearer to the station.

The swing bridge, as far as I know, hasn’t been opened for many years, probably because no large boats travel up the river anymore.

The Swing Bridge at Southease on the river Ouse.

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/400 sec ISO160

This is a tidal river flowing out through the port of Newhaven in East Sussex into the Channel. During the time that I walked the tide was going out and you could see how strong the current was, probably the reason for all the signs along the river about no swimming, not that I felt the need.

I encountered quite a bit of farm and wild animals along the route including these cows who decided they wanted to rest across the footpath, who am I to argue with such a large animal.


Sony RX100 MkII 24.11mm @F6.3 1/250 sec ISO160


Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/250 sec ISO160

The rest of the animals were made up of Swans, Black Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Egrets, Goldfinches, Sparrows several species of Crows, Bees, a caterpillar and Sheep that were grazing on the rich marsh grass on the other side of the river.


Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F3.5 1/60 sec ISO160

Further along the river, we can see in the distance Lewes Downs (Mount Caburn) National Nature Reserve, it is from here that you can see most weekends people hang gliding, not a sport that I think I would be brave enough to attempt, but never the less very spectacular.

The river spilts

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/320 sec ISO160

It is at this point that the river splits off into another tributary that goes off toward Glynde and beyond. As the tributary was on the other side of the river I continued toward the historic town of Lewes, that can be seen for the first time in the image below.


Sony RX100 MkII 16.99mm @F6.3 1/60 sec ISO160

As I continue along the path the first structure that I passed under was the road bridge for the A27 dual carriageway, you certainly know you are nearing the town as the noise levels of the traffic drown the birds and the peace and tranquility of flowing water.

A bridge

Sony RX100 MkII 24.11mm @F6.3 1/125 sec ISO160

The next bridge to pass under is the railway line that runs out to Eastbourne in the east or south towards Seaford.

A bridge

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/80 sec ISO160

I have now reached the town as can be seen from the houses that are along the banks of the river. The one with the brown top to it is an award winning construction, that featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. The upper floor and roof are made of steel that has been allowed to corrode. I think it was recently marketed for sale with a price of nearly £2 million.


Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/200 sec ISO160

Finally at the end of the path for me although it does continue for many more miles, so a quick look around the town before heading back to the station and home.


Sony RX100 MkII 22.74mm @F6.3 1/100 sec ISO160

The war memorial at the top of School Hill to honour the fallen soldiers of the two world wars is now a listed building.


Sony RX100 MkII 13.9mm @F6.3 1/320 sec ISO160

Further on up the high street and turning right I walked up to Lewes Castle, it stands at the highest point built on a raised bed of chalk. This 1000-year-old castle offers some stunning views across the county of Sussex.

The Castle

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/30 sec ISO160

The Castle

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/100 sec ISO160

The Castle

Sony RX100 MkII 10.4mm @F6.3 1/10 sec ISO160

That is it for today, not a very long walk just under 4 miles, but a pleasant walk all the same.

Equipment used:

This is a map of the location of the walk.

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